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Articles on Central Asia

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A massive dust storm billows across the western desert of Iraq on April 26, 2005. Shannon Arledge/USMC via Getty Images

Desert dust storms carry human-made toxic pollutants, and the health risk extends indoors

Desert dust storms are increasingly picking up materials like sewage, herbicides and other human-made waste and transporting them on tiny particles that are easy to inhale.
The Hazara have long been targeted in Afghanistan, and many fear violence will intensify with the Taliban in power. Dimitris Lampropoulos/NurPhoto via Getty Images

Who are the Hazara of Afghanistan? An expert on Islam explains

With the Taliban again in power in Afghanistan, minorities like the Hazara may have the most to lose.
A protest against bride kidnapping in Kyrgyzstan’s capital, Bishkek, on April 8, 2021, after a young woman abducted for marriage was found dead. Vyacheslav Oseledko/AFP via Getty Images

‘Bride kidnapping’ haunts rural Kyrgyzstan, causing young women to flee their homeland

In rural Kyrgyzstan, 1 in 3 marriages begins with an abduction. Older generations see this as a harmless tradition, but two brides have been killed since 2018. A study finds other problems, too.
A Russian plane delivers 10,000 AK-47 rifles to the Afghan National Security Forces. Hedayatullah Amid/EPA

Why Russia is back in Afghanistan

Russia is pursuing influence in Central Asia and competing with the US. Afghanistan offers it a chance to do both.
Ak Orda, the President’s Residence in Astana. Nurseit Niyazbekov

Will oil-rich Kazakhstan ever embrace democracy?

An abundance of natural resources has helped Kazakhstan attract billions in investments. Despite its booming economy, the government is unlikely to move towards democracy any time soon.

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